Who is at risk of pneumonia?

Pneumonia can affect anyone, at any age. There are, however, two age groups which are at higher risk of developing pneumonia. It means that these two groups are more likely not only to get pneumonia, but also to have more severe outcomes of the disease (1)



People aged 65+

People who are 65 years old or older - their immune system begins to weaken
as they age which is part of a normal process.   

Young children

Children who are two years old or younger - 
their immune system is still developing.

Other risk factors

Lifestyle habits - Smoking cigarettes is the strongest risk factor in young people. Also excessive use of alcohol, or beingundernourished also increases your risk for pneumonia.

Environment - our environment has an immense impact on our lives. Being exposed to certain chemicals, pollutants, ortoxic fumes significantly increases likelihood of developing pneumonia. In many low income countries, where domestic fuels are burnt for cooking and lighting, indoor air pollution is an important risk factor for pneumonia.

Other medical conditions may also increase your risk of getting a pneumonia:

  • Recent cold or flu episode,

  • ​Being unable to cough properly - because of a stroke or other condition,

  • Problems with swallowing,

  • Not being able to move around much,

  • Taking sedatives on regular basis,

  • Having other lung disease such as: cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bronchiectasis, 

  • Suffering from diabetes, heart failure, or sickle cell disease,

  • Using a ventilator to help you breathe,

  • Having a weak immune system due to AIDS, organ transplant, chemotherapy, spleen removed (splenectomy), (a treatment for cancer), or long-term steroid use.